26 February 1931|
Hampstead, London, England
Leonard Rossiter (1958–1961; divorced)|
Henry Newman (1972–1980; his death)
Josephine Ann Tewson (born 26 February 1931) is an English stage and television actress. She is best known for her large roles in British television sitcoms, such as Elizabeth "Liz" Warden the neighbour of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances (1990–95) and Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003–10).
Early life and career
Tewson was born in Hampstead, London. Her father, William, was a professional musician and played the double bass in the BBC Symphony Orchestra; her mother, Kate (née Morley, born 1908), was a nurse, the daughter of Haydn Morley who captained Sheffield Wednesday in the 1890 F.A cup final. After grammar school, Tewson studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from which she graduated in 1952. She was married to actor Leonard Rossiter; they divorced in 1961.
A regular comedy performer in sketches featuring Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker on David Frost on Sunday and Hark at Barker (1970), she later appeared in Mostly Monkhouse, a BBC Radio Comedy programme with David Jason supporting Bob Monkhouse. She also appeared a few times in Z-Cars (1963–69) and The Charlie Drake Show (1968). Tewson played Edna Hawkins (usually referred to as Mrs H by Shelley) in the first six series of the British sitcom Shelley (1979–82). Later, she played Jane Travers in Ronnie Barker's sitcom Clarence (1988), which he also wrote, and was his last starring television role before his retirement.
Tewson is best known for her role as Elizabeth Warden, neighbour and confidant of social wannabe Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances. Tewson appeared in nearly every episode for the 5 series run, providing an often rattled but pragmatic counter to the scattered and clueless "Mrs Bucket".
Tewson was featured with John Inman in Odd Man Out (1977), an unsuccessful sitcom, where they played half-brother/half-sister roles. She was rumoured to be Inman's cousin, though she has denied this idea in several interviews.
She also appeared in the 1984 children's film Gabrielle and the Doodleman as the characters Mrs. Briggs (Gabrielle's father's housekeeper) and the Fairy Godmother.
Tewson appeared semi-regularly as Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003–10), a series written by Roy Clarke who also wrote Keeping Up Appearances. She has also appeared in two episodes of the documentary series Comedy Connections, talking about her work in Keeping Up Appearances (2004) and opposite The Two Ronnies (2005). In 2009, she played the role of Iris in the radio drama Leaves in Autumn written by Susan Casanove, produced by the Wireless Theatre Company.
Other television appearances were in an episode of Heartbeat ("Closing The Book", 2002) and as the competition judge, Samantha Johnstone, in an episode in the mystery drama Midsomer Murders ("Judgement Day", 2000). Most recently, she was featured in two episodes of Doctors as kleptomaniac, Audrey Wilson, ("Now You See It...", 2009) and as Marjorie Page, a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease ("The Bespectacled Bounder," 2012). Tewson played a nanny in a 30-second commercial for Nabisco Fruit Newtons, first aired in 1997 in the United States. She also played a school teacher in a Sugar Puffs "I Want My Honey" advert during the late 1980s/early 1990s.
In 2012, Tewson launched her one-woman show Still Keeping Up Appearances? and is on tour across the UK.
Television and film
|1963–64||No Hiding Place||Various|
|1963||First Night||Mrs Tullet|
|1966||Sergeant Cork||Martha St. Clair|
|1968||The Charlie Drake Show||Various|
|1968||Frost on Sunday||Various|
|1969||The Champions||Hotel Switchboard Operator (uncredited)|
|1969–79||The Dick Emery Show||Various|
|1969||Hark at Barker||Mildred Bates|
|1970||ITV Saturday Night Theatre "Suffer Little Children"||Gladys|
|1971||Six Dates with Barker||Travers|
|1971||Copper's End||WPS Penny Pringle|
|1971–81||The Two Ronnies||Various|
|1972||His Lordship Entertains||Mildred Bates|
|1973||Comedy Playhouse "Elementary My Dear Watson"||Lady Cynthia|
|1973||Son of the Bride||Miss McDowdie|
|1973||Casanova '73||Mrs Kershaw|
|1975||Tarbuck and All That!||Various|
|1975||Wodehouse Playhouse||Mabel Potts|
|1976||Happy Ever After||Mrs Robins|
|1977||No Appointment Necessary||Penelope Marshall|
|1977||Odd Man Out||Dorothy|
|1978||The Hound of the Baskervilles||Nun|
|1979||Rings on Their Fingers||Mrs Harris|
|1983||For 4 Tonight||Actress|
|1985||Terry and June||Mrs Robins|
|1987||Rude Health||Mrs Thorpe|
|1990–95||Keeping Up Appearances||Elizabeth 'Liz' Warden|
|1994||Coronation Street||Peggy Phillips|
|2000||Heroes of Comedy: Ronnie Barker||Herself|
|2000||Midsomer Murders||Samantha Johnstone|
|2003–10||Last of the Summer Wine||Miss Lucinda Davenport|
|2004–05||Comedy Connections (2 episodes)||Herself|
|2006||Holby City||Mabel Phillips|
|2009||Doctors||Mrs Winston, a kleptomaniac|
|2012||Inspector Lewis||Hazel O'Brien|
|2012||The Many Faces of Ronnie Barker||Herself|
|2013||The Two Ronnies Spectacle||Herself|
|1971, 1973||The Secret Life of Kenneth Williams||Maisie||BBC Radio|
|Early 1970s||Mostly Monkhouse||Various||BBC Radio|
|2009||Leaves in Autumn||Iris||Wireless Theatre Company|
- Roberts, Jo (11 March 2015)."Josephine Tewson of TV's Keeping Up Appearances launches one-woman show". KentOnline. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Josephine Tewson in one-woman show at Hertford Theatre". Hertfordshire Mercury. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Longhurst, Jenny (25 May 2002). "An actress of great importance; Josephine Tewson has starred alongside such comic greats as The Two Ronnies and Patricia Routledge. She talks to Jenny Longhurst about her latest role". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Keeping up appearances with the first player signed by the Rams". Derby Telegraph. 3 November 2008. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Josephine Tewson Biography". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Ean, Tan Gim (25 September 1988). "Comedy Queen who is very down to earth". New Straits Times. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Student and Graduate Profiles: Josephine Tewson". rada.ac.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Chilton, Martin (8 Dec 2010). "Leonard Rossiter, Character Driven: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
- "The 5-minute Interview: Josephine Tewson, Actress". The Independent. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
- Shaw, Karen. "Tonight Josephine." Northern Life. Last modified 27 September 2012. Accessed 28 March 2013. http://www.northernlifemagazine.co.uk/article.aspx?aid=373